SBJ/20090817/This Week's News

DirecTV testing NFL package on broadband

DirecTV is testing its NFL Sunday Ticket Online broadband service in Manhattan this season, making it available to all of the borough’s 1.6 million residents.

DirecTV is charging Manhattanites $349.99 for online access to its popular out-of-market NFL package. The offer is available only to new non-DirecTV customers.

Manhattan residents can get
Sunday Ticket.

The test is part of a renewal the satellite operator signed with the league in March that gives DirecTV exclusive access to Sunday Ticket through 2014. DirecTV is paying $1 billion a year for those rights. At the time, DirecTV said it would launch a broadband version of the Sunday Ticket service by 2012.

If this season’s test is successful, DirecTV plans to roll it out nationwide next season.

The deal also gives DirecTV the right to market a broadband version of the package to consumers who are unable to subscribe to DirecTV.

DirecTV executives view Manhattan as a controlled environment in which to conduct the test. Due to line-of-sight issues and apartment rules, most Manhattan residents could not subscribe to DirecTV even if they wanted to.

In fact, a Web page marketing the service reads, “Call an audible on your landlord.”

The NFL Sunday Ticket Online service will stream every Sunday afternoon game and DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel. It also provides highlights and real-time scores and stats.

The broadband service also allows subscribers to stream games to their mobile phone anywhere in the country.

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